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Sugared Cranberries

These fresh tart cranberries, coated in sweet sugar, are a surprisingly delicious. Sometimes called candied or frosted cranberries you can eat them as is or use them to garnish your favourite holiday dessert or cocktail.

Three individual servings of candied cranberries in small tart tins.

What are sugared cranberries?

Sugared cranberries, sometimes called candied cranberries or frosted cranberries, are simply fresh cranberries that have been tossed in a sugar syrup then rolled in granulated sugar.

They are quick and easy to make and look so pretty as a garnish on your favourite dessert or cocktail.

You can also eat them like candy. I do!

Candied cranberries in small tart tins.

This recipe uses simple ingredients, takes little time to prepare, and costs only a couple of dollars.

The pretty, sugared cranberries are delicious as a snack on their own and are perfect for adding a bit of sparkle to your favourite dessert or drink.

Ingredients & Substitutions

There are really only 2 ingredients needed to make sugared cranberries. You will need:

  • Fresh cranberries
  • Granulated sugar

You will also need water. Just regular tap water should do.

Step by Step Instructions

One – Add one cup of water and one cup of granulated sugar to a medium size pot. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat and stir in the cranberries. Make sure all the cranberries get submerged, then remove with a slotted spoon.

Move the cranberries to a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to dry for one hour.

Expert Tip – Strain the sugar water through a sieve after you remove the cranberries. Pour it into a jar and save in the refrigerator as a simply syrup for cocktails.

Process of making sugared cranberries.

Two – After allowing the cranberries to dry, place them in a large bowl and add remaining 1 cup of granulated sugar. Stir until all the berries are well coated in the sugar, then remove from the bowl and place on a baking sheet with a clean piece of parchment.

Allow to dry for about 30 minutes, then move to an airtight container for storage.

Expert Tip – Remove the berries from the sugar with a slotted spoon so you can shake off the excess sugar. After all berries are removed, spread the sugar on a parchment lined baking sheet and let dry. Then move to an airtight container to use for decorating truffles or hot chocolate bombs, or to rim cocktail glasses.

Close up of candied cranberries showing them coated in sugar crystals.

How to use sugared cranberries

Sugared cranberries can be used in a variety of ways.

Personally, I like to eat them like they are candy. The tart berries, surrounded in crunchy sweet sugar, pop in your mouth as you eat them and are delicious and addictive.

But you can use these berries to decorate your favourite dessert such as this beautiful cranberry curd tart or this creamy Panna Cotta with cranberry sauce.

They are perfect as a garnish to cranberry cocktails, such as cranberry martinis.

They would are also great on this cranberry smoothie bowl.

How to store candied cranberries

You can store these candied cranberries in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

They should keep for several days.

If you find they get a bit weepy you can just toss them in a bit of sugar before serving again, though I’ve found they last at least three days very well without needing to be re-coated.

Expert Tip – I do not recommend freezing the sugared cranberries. If you freeze them they will become soft and the sugar will dissolve as they thaw.

Close up of candied cranberries in a small metal tart tin.

Top Tips & FAQS

How long will sugared cranberries keep?

They should keep several days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If the sugar begins to weep a bit you can simply toss them in a couple tablespoons of fresh sugar before serving.

Do candied cranberries need to be refrigerated?

Yes, because these are fresh berries I recommend storing them in the refrigerator for food safety reasons.

More cranberry recipes

Printable Recipe

Close up of sugared cranberries in a small metal tart tin.

Sugared Cranberries

Sometimes called candied or frosted cranberries you can eat these as is, or use them to garnish your favourite holiday dessert or cocktail.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Save Recipe Rate
Course: Desserts, Snacks
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 12 ¼ Cup Servings
Calories: 141kcal
Author: Deanna


  • 3 Cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 Cup water
  • 2 Cups granulated sugar divided


  • Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of the granulated sugar to a medium size pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stir to dissolve the sugar.
  • When the water has come to a boil, remove from the heat and add the cranberries. Stir the cranberries to make sure they all are coated in the syrup.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the cranberries to a parchment lined baking sheet. Let dry for about one hour.
  • After an hour the cranberries should feel sticky. Place them in a large bowl, add the remaining 1 cup of sugar, and toss to coat all the berries in the sugar.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the cranberries from the sugar, gently shaking to remove the excess sugar.
  • Place on a clean parchment lined baking sheet and let dry for 30 minutes.
  • Move to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.


After removing the cranberries from the sugar water, strain the water through a sieve and store in a jar in the refrigerator.  This can be used for simple syrup for cocktails.
After removing the berries from the sugar, spread the remaining sugar on a parchment-lined baking sheet and allow to dry.  Then move to an airtight container.  The sugar will be tinted pink and can be used to decorate desserts or cocktail glasses.
**If you don’t want to have any sugar left over after coating the berries, I’ve found that just over ⅓ cup of sugar seems about perfect.  Sometimes I’ve had to add an extra tablespoon or two, it just depends on the size of the berries.  You still need the full cup for the sugar water, however. 
**Nutrition information has been estimated based on using all of the ingredients and does not account for the left-over syrup or sugar.**


Estimated Nutrition Facts
Sugared Cranberries
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 24th of November 2021

Just made these to use on Thanksgiving cocktails and they're delicious and so pretty! Might put a bowl of them on the table with dinner.


Thursday 25th of November 2021

So glad you enjoyed them. I love putting a bowl out and just snacking on them, so yummy.


Tuesday 15th of December 2020

This is genius! I love how the sugar crystals stick to the cranberries giving it that festive look! I'm going to make this again for Christmas and decorate all my cakes this way!